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Hospice and Home Euthanasia

Sorry, Dr Smith has moved to Guam and isn’t doing house calls at this time. Please contact Arms of Aloha at 808-435-3006 or


How to choose the right time for euthanasia:

This is a very private decision, and there is no ‘right’ answer.  It usually helps to think of your pet’s 3 favorite things.  This could be receiving treats, greeting you at the door, or playing with a favorite toy.  When he/she is not doing at least 2 of these, it is a sign that the quality of life is diminishing.  If your pet is no longer willing to eat even treats, or is in severe pain, the quality of life is usually very poor.  Often a first step is a visit to your veterinarian, who can help detect the underlying issue(s) and discuss possible treatment options. Once a decision has been made to not pursue further treatment, your pet enters the hospice phase. When your pet and your family are ready, euthanasia may be scheduled.

What is Hospice?

Similar to people, veterinary hospice aims to keep your pet as comfortable as possible in the last stages of life. Whether this is due to an illness or simply an aging or geriatric pet, we can help aim for a time of happiness.  A hospice plan may include pain medications, fluid therapy, nutritional support, massage and stretching, and sometimes acupuncture. The goal is to prevent suffering and increase the quality of life as much as we are able.

Some families, either for personal or religious reasons, do not believe in euthanasia as a choice. A ‘natural death’ is usually not quick or painless, though we often hope for our pet to simply fall asleep and not wake up. We can help limit the pain as much as possible though this time, and are always flexible should the family elect euthanasia at any time in the process.

The euthanasia process:

Once your pet is comfortable with the new veterinarian’s presence and all family members are ready, an injection is given under the skin to relieve pain and heavily sedate your dog or cat.  This injection is usually painless, but some animals are very sensitive and can feel a slight sting or pinch.  The family members are encouraged to pet and talk to the dog or cat while he/she becomes sedated.  Within 10-15 minutes, the pet is very sleepy or lightly anesthetized.  The second injection is the actual euthanasia solution, and is injected into a vein.  An area may be shaved to locate a good vein, but your pet will be too sleepy to mind the sound of clippers.  This second injection is an overdose of a anesthetic/barbituate which will stop the heart within a few minutes of administration.  Your pet may have some reflexes in the form of muscles twitches or additional breaths, but most just stop breathing and quietly pass away.  It is very peaceful and non-painful.  After listening for heart beats, the veterinarian will let you know when the pet has passed.


There are three options for aftercare.  Some clients have a place to bury their pet, and opt for burial.  Alternately, there are several pet crematoriums on Oahu.  You may choose a cremation with ashes returned, or a group cremation with no return of ashes.  Most veterinary clinics can arrange this service, and you may take your pet’s body to your personal veterinarian for cremation arrangements.  Additionally, we offer transportation for cremation services.